2020: Water

Water is the beginning of life according to numerous mythological and religious cosmologies. God “made from water every living thing,” as this nomadic conception is formulated in the Qur’an. This is a point where scientific theories of evolution and religious narratives agree: water is the primordial element. Up to 60 % of the adult human body is water, which makes it a vital aspect of medical and physiological research. However, water is rapidly becoming one of the most contested natural resources of our time. Will the basic human need for water cause wars and conflicts in the future, or will it serve as a uniting element that opens our eyes to our common humanity and the need to work together across borders of states, creeds, and ideologies to secure clean water supplies for all in the future? Will water, in the end, prove to be thicker than blood?

In 2020, because of COVID-19, the tenth ABOAGORA Symposium adopted a new, hybrid form: parts of the programme at the museum were conducted remotely. The event was live-streamed and recorded,  so it was safe to follow the Symposium from the office, sofa, or even from the pier, surrounded by water.

Agora speakers

Janet M. Davis
Marko Röhr
Carola Hein, Negar Sanaan Bensi & Jens Jorritsma
David Grossman & Natalie Lantz (illustration by Maria Laakso)

The Agora lectures are available on ABOAGORA’s YouTube channel:

Janet M. Davis (Professor of American Studies and History, The University of Texas at Austin)

“Sharkmania: A Cultural History”

Marko Röhr (director, writer, film producer)

“The Eternal Circulation of Water. A Visual Journey into the Arctic Waters, Myths and Facts”

Carola Hein (Professor of History of Architecture and Urban Planning, Delft University of Technology), Negar Sanaan Bensi (Lecturer, Delft University of Technology) & Jens Jorritsma (urban designer, teacher, researcher)

“Historical Waterscapes: Adaptive Strategies between Technology and Art”

David Grossman (author) & Natalie Lantz (translator)

“Stormy Waters: Secrets Inherited and the Creation of a Family” David Grossman in conversation with translator Natalie Lantz on his new novel

You can also find the workshops and other performances of ABOAGORA: Water on YouTube!

Aboagora 2020 programme booklet:

Photos: Pekko Vasantola